Motor City on the Move
Since Detroit does not have a palpable personality, like Atlanta or Montreal, the newcomer can only begin to understand it by realizing that, although the fifth largest city in the United States, it is still essentially a small town. Its increase in population (more than a million since 1940) came so quickly, bursting the city at the edges and spewing people all the way to Ann Arbor in one direction and nearly to Toledo in another, that it did not have time to change character in the process. Its concerns are still those of a small town; so are its social alliances, its prejudices, its political alignments. Detroit has abundant new wealth and some cultural pretension, but not much sophistication; it contains a variety of nationalities and races without achieving cosmopolitanism. It hatches innumerable plans for civic betterment and civic improvement without engendering much civic pride. There must be Detroiters who would take the preceding sentence as a personal affront, but one seldom meets them. Detroit is not a city that is loved, as New York is, as San Francisco is. It is not even a city that is passionately hated. It is frequently annoying, generally ugly; it chiefly inspires indifference.
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